You can, for certain, spend more than 48 hours in Lanzarote (aka the Island of Eternal Spring), but we thought we would compact the information and detail into handy bite-sized chunks so that you might get a better idea of what’s what on the island. The bad news? If you’re looking for lush, green landscapes you will be sorely disappointed – Lanzarote is a volcanic island and so long stretches of golden sandy beaches or verdant regions aren’t to be found. The good news? Located about 125Km (80 miles) off the north coast of Africa, even in early February (as storms this, that and the other hammer Ireland’s already battered citizens) the daily temperatures are in the low-mid 20-degree. In anyone’s language – but especially Spanish – that’s brillante.
There is an abundance of accommodation options on the island, most around the south coast, so it depends on whatever takes your fancy and what you can stump up. We were lucky in that we booked our hotel leading into the winter of 2021, at a time when Covid was, to all intents and purposes, decimating the hospitality industry. As the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining and so we nabbed a terrific all-inclusive bargain at the Hotel 10 Rubicon Palace, a five-star hotel compound/resort that was the proverbial business. A large room, numerous swimming pools, five restaurants, a classy spa/gym, and (if you are so inclined) all the liquids you can drink. If the all-inclusive option is something you haven’t done before, maybe it’s time to rethink?
Seriously, is there anything better than warmth, sun, a flotilla of moored boats of varying sizes bobbing lazily in the water and a stroll around a very pretty Marina? (There is only one answer to this question, by the way, and it begins with the letter ‘y’.) Easily accessible by taxi or local transport no matter where you are based on Playa Blanca, the Marina is part 18th-century fort, part compact stylish shopping centre, and part gastronomic playground. Words of advice? No matter where you sit or stand, the sun shines on white buildings and reflects the shimmering of the sea, so sunglasses need to be stuck to your head. You’re welcome.
After a morning at the Marina, perhaps it’s time to make a beeline to an island brewery for a taste of local craft beer? Overseen by brewmaster/musician Orlando Niz Andueza and agricultural engineer/oenologist Tania Delgado Cabrera, Malpeis Brewery is located in the town of Tinajo. What began as a home brewing experiment developed (via guidance and advice from Tania) over several years into a business that has grown slowly but surely. The names of the company’s beers reference the colours of the island’s sand and/or landscape: Malpeis Jable (white sand; citrus and thyme), Malpeis Bermeja (red-like earth; peach and apricot), and Malpeis Rofe (volcanic ash; coffee and toffee). To which we said at least twice: yes, please and thanks.
If you’re looking for more than your usual restaurant experience on Lanzarote, there is little doubt that Kamezí Deli & Bistró will match your expectations. As an integral part of the property’s villa enclosure, the restaurant is (claims its website) “a temple of gastronomy”. The primary focus is its extensive tasting menu, which uses fresh and local produce to create a riot of taste. The menu is subject to change depending on the availability of the produce, but can include Red Prawn De La Santa (with avocado, passion fruit, sweet potato), Squid Pil-Pil (with white chocolate, aji spices, red Mojo sauce), Black Ribs (with roast millo, green Mojo popcorn) and Cabrito (with beet/pine nut couscous, Swiss chard, black beer rofe). The result is all very swish, while the surroundings are similarly smart.
If you have been to any part of Spain, Portugal, or Northern Africa (and other areas similar), you can probably guess what this market is like. There is a bonus, however, and that is its location. Yes, it’s back to the Marina with you, and why ever not, as you stroll between the stalls and gaze out of the blue sky and sit down at the Oasis bar/café (to name but one of many options) and sip a coffee or whatever else takes your fancy. The fare on sale is the usual range of goods: clothing, jewellery, cups, mugs, plates, and so on. Oh – and belts. Lots of belts. Which may or may not be made of ‘real leather’ but sure, lookit, let’s go with the flow, right?
Taking a short detour in any journey around a compact island is always worth it, and so the small seaside village of El Golfo is a particularly useful one to do. There are, of course, numerous cafés and restaurants to choose from, and there is also the entrance to the National Park of Timanfaya, but perhaps the most obvious reason to visit El Golfo is its USP – Laguna de Los Clicos, aka the Green Lagoon. Over the millennia, the craggy façade of the volcano on the shoreline to one side of the village has been worn down, the partial result of which is a remarkable green lagoon (another reason is the intensity and type of algae in the water). Positioned alongside the blackish sand and the multi-coloured background of the volcanic crater, the effect is both startling and beautiful.
EL DIABLO, TIMANFAYA
After visiting El Golfo, you could hang around for an early dinner at El Diablo, which is pitched (not without justification) as Lanzarote’s volcano restaurant. Located in the National Park of Timanfaya, the chefs at this grill restaurant – which is cylindrical in shape, thereby allowing a full view of the National Park’s vistas – use geothermal heat to cook the food. Yes, you read correct – the food you tuck into is cooked by the heat of the (dormant) volcano. The food might not be up there with the best you have ever eaten, but the experience most assuredly is.